The Event Design Lab

The Event Design Lab is for any team seeking to bring cohesiveness to their event organising model by:

  • Exploring workshop formats that harness collective power
  • Strengthening their facilitation skill sets to hold space in their contexts
  • Walking the walk

These sessions will allow your team to think through critical elements, such as strategic social change goals, effective facilitation, session design, & participant engagement, to produce an event that maximises interaction and minimises power imbalances to harness collective power. 

The Event Design Lab is part of a suite of workshops, including The Session Design Lab, a regularly run workshop for individuals designing workshop sessions. This workshop series is a collaboration between Sarah Allen, drawing upon her expertise as the Mozilla Festival Senior Director, and Dirk Slater, who has nearly 30 years of experience convening people in diverse contexts and settings.

We offer the lab a bespoke design tailored to your needs and goals. What follows is an example lab sequence. Each day is a three-hour virtual session that can run over four consecutive days or spread out over two weeks. 

Session 1

Solidarity around the big picture

This session will engage the team in ‘Why convene?’ by defining the purpose and strengthening the strategic goals for the event. Your team will surface how the event mirrors the change we want to see and aligns with movement and community goals. We will also analyse social, positional, and reputational power structures and how the event can effectively break down barriers and uplift.  Your team will also sketch out the experience they want to create for participants and themselves.

Session 2

Collaboration and partnership

This session will strengthen team facilitation skills by including an overview of adult learning theory and how that translates into meeting, training, and workshop formats. Your team will determine ways to support and set up session organisers and facilitators for success. We will share best practices for co-creating and being accountable to our communities.   

Session 3

Organise, act and show the way.

During this session, the team will focus on participant engagement, sustaining momentum post-event and contributing to movement-building efforts. Your team will then determine pathways for participants to discover, learn, contribute, arrive and ultimately benefit from the event and its structure.  We will share best practices for maximising networking opportunities. Your team will also determine how to engage participants to evaluate the event’s effectiveness. 

Session 4

Event Essentials and Momentum

This session will engage the team in mapping out stakeholder needs during the event, defining roles, the tech/virtual elements, documentation needs, and help desks needed to support. Your team will surface ways to be resilient during the event and recoup and restore afterwards. We will also share best practices for sustaining momentum and determining realistic feedback loops. Your team will also create a road map to plan the journey to the event date.


If you’re interested in the Event Design Lab please send an email to labs (at) or use the form below.